champagneI don’t have a drinking problem.

Sure I like my vodka, club soda and pomegranate cocktail(s) on Thursday nights. My husband usually has one ready for me after my kids get picked up by their father for their sleep-over at his house.

I sip it while I get ready to go out on Date Night.

And on a Friday or Saturday night, when we’re sitting around the house or if we’re going out, I’ll knock back a few. Either by sipping on some bourbon or having a glass or two of wine.

But that’s about it. I don’t imbibe Sunday through Wednesday.

So I’m a social drinker. And my social life runs Thursday through Saturday. The other nights are full of kids’ practices, helping out with homework or trying to stay ahead of the laundry.

But back towards the beginning of September, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to take a break from drinking. Neither one of us was concerned with our intake in a potential alcohol abuse kind of way.

It’s just that the summer was long and we traveled a lot. And when we travel, we like to eat and drink. Find some local restaurants. Sit at a bar, talk to the bartender and get a feel for whatever place it is that we happen to be in. Our trips mix in a lot of hiking and walking but still, it’s a big change for our bodies compared to our every day “normal” lives.

Israel, North Carolina, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Southern California, Saratoga Springs.

We were gone a lot. Some of the trips were together. A few were separate.

To say that it was a fun summer would be a massive understatement.

But as we started to get back in to our routines, waking up early, going back to work and starting the kids’ school year, neither one of us could shake the bloat we felt from the over-consumption of food and the more-than-usual alcoholic beverages. Seriously.

We needed to get back to moderation. And going on the wagon seemed like a good plan.

We picked a date in mid-September to begin, two days after my husband’s 49th birthday. (Thankfully, it was not his 50th. That may have just pushed us over the edge.) With a goal of making it six weeks, going right up until our cousin’s wedding. Because that was going to be a party.
And with little fanfare, we stopped.

No more alcohol. Not a sip. Not a drop. Not even a sniff.

It wasn’t so bad. I did find myself missing the social aspect of sitting around and drinking a cocktail. A Pavlovian response. Like the first Thursday we went out and our routine was different. 

And sure there was a time or two when I felt like I needed a drink. Like when my ex-husband and I had a session with a therapist to talk about co-parenting our teens. And it turned out to be way different than I expected.

Or when all three of our kids were with us for a long weekend and were on their absolutely worst behavior and I wanted to strangle them all. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

icesculptureWe even drove four hours across the state for a fraternity brother’s 50th birthday, drank a few Diet Cokes and drove back that same night. 

And not drinking in that setting wasn’t easy because halfway through the party, they wheeled in this enormous ice sculpture in the shape of the number 50. At the top of the 0, there was a hole and a tunnel leading down and out the other side. To pour vodka through. And we didn’t do it. Though we both wanted to.

(Nothing more tempting than a bunch of your college buddies chanting, “Red, Red, Red” as they were for my husband.) 

As the weeks have gone by, we both have slept more soundly. I’ve lost a little bit of weight, though not as much as I thought I would. And I definitely feel less puffy. My wedding band is no longer leaving an indentation on my finger.

We made it over three weeks. Twenty-two days to be exact. But last Saturday night, on a weekend when we had no kids, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. The night before, we had ordered take-out from a Greek place that we loved. And it was terrible. We ate it while watching a movie that wasn’t so great either.

So for our night out, we really wanted to make a good choice. We wanted really amazing food, great service and a touch more pomp above our usual haunts. The problem was, I just couldn’t see going to a nice restaurant for some fine dining, eating good food and not having it paired with a glass of wine or two.

My husband, who rarely does anything half-assed, surprised me by saying, “Fuck it. We’re going out to Cafe Boulud. We’re getting dressed up. And I’m opening that bottle of champagne we have in the cooler.”

And he didn’t have to ask me twice.

The evening was exactly what we wanted. Romantic and tasty. With alcohol. We both savored the wines we had. Yes, multiple glasses. We had them matched to our courses. (Just for the record, I’ll take a good cheese course over dessert any day.)

We went back on the wagon Sunday, none the worse for wear. And in two more weeks, we’ll be in Atlanta celebrating the marriage of my cousin to his beautiful bride.

And I’ll definitely be raising a glass, filled with some sort of alcoholic beverage, to them.

All dressed up for dinner.

All dressed up for dinner.